This is a wonderful, absorbing, epic novel about families and neighbours; about physical and emotional hunger; about love and long memories.
This is an extraordinarily haunting novel, inspired by a true story. In the late 1960s, in the hollow of an ancient oak tree beyond a derelict cottage in Cork, the bones of a three-year-old girl were found. It was thought that they dated back to the time of the great potato famine of the mid 1800s. The bones were discovered by an American woman, who had inherited the cottage which had lain empty and broken for forty years. Local searches reveal that the house had originally belonged to The Quinns. Eliza Quinn was their baby.
This is a story that speaks of generations and of landscapes: abandoned villages, famine graves, old potato ridges sinking back into the earth, traces of a population that fell by two and a half million in less than ten years. It is also about hunger, both physical and emotional. But above all, it is the story of the Quinn family.
And it is Carol Birch's tour de force.
Always understated, yet crammed with incidents of the highest drama. - D.J. Taylor, Guardian.
A fascinating story, exquisitely written, with as many layers as an onion...Birch raises lost spirits with the authority of a born storyteller. - Times.
Carol Birch's fiction...continues to stretch bodies and minds to breaking point...marvellous and terrifying. - Sunday Times